South Africa, fDi’s 2005 African Country of the Future, has come top for the second time since the biennial competition was launched two years ago.

fDi’s 2007 judging panel was impressed by a string of recent investments from companies such as Anglo American ($1bn), Germany’s Volkswagen ($713m) and India’s Tata Group ($120m).


High levels of FDI, falling unemployment and rising gross domestic product per capita helped to keep South Africa at the top. The country also ranks top of our latest African shortlist for economic potential, infrastructure, and FDI strategy and development.

Africa’s island nations of Mauritius (second) and the Seychelles (third) rank closely behind South Africa.

Mauritius scored highly for its low costs (the second lowest in the competition after Swaziland), excellent human resources, quality of life and business-friendly investment climate. It is currently benefiting from a strong government initiative to encourage FDI. According to Invest Mauritius, the country’s investment promotion agency, more than 4000 jobs were created in 2006 as a result of investment by overseas companies.

The Seychelles scored consistently well, ranking in the top five for most criteria. The country has the lowest unemployment level (2.6% in 2006) and highest gross national income per capita in the survey. The Seychelles also has the highest level of adult literacy, one of the best government-initiated professional skills programmes and one of the best telecommunications networks in Africa.



’s Locations of the Future competition covers each region once every two years. The next African Countries of the Future competition will be published in 2009. fDi’s Locations of the Future shortlists are created in much the same way that investors screen locations to decide which are suitable for capital investment projects. fDi asks each location to provide data on more than 60 criteria.

In the first half of 2007, fDi magazine invited countries across sub-Saharan Africa to answer questions in the seven broad categories listed overleaf. Eighteen countries were considered by fDi’s panel of judges, which scored each country on the various criteria within these categories.

The winners in each category are the countries that scored the most points in that category, and the overall winner is the country that scored the most points across all seven categories.

Countries were scored by members of fDi’s editorial team and by independent guest judges.



  Murray Grant, partner in charge of Africa, Actis Capital
  Francis Beddington, head of research, central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Standard Bank
  Geoffrey Wynne, banking partner, and head of trade and export finance, Denton Wilde Sapte
  Steve Godfrey, director, CBC Consulting (part of the Commonwealth Business Council)




Economic potential

• Percentage of the population under 25

• Adult unemployment (2006)

• Change in adult unemployment (2004 to 2006)

• Average GDP/capita (2006)

• Average GDP/capita growth (2005 to 2006)

• Total FDI

• FDI inflow (2006)

• Number of foreign investment deals signed in 2006

• Three most significant inward investment projects

Cost effectiveness

• Town centre office rents

• Out of town office rents

• Factory/industrial rents

• Warehouse rents

• Town centre office purchase costs

• Out of town office purchase costs

• Factory/industrial premises purchase costs

• Warehouse purchase costs

• Secretarial salaries

• Entry-level manager salaries

• Middle manager salaries

• Senior manager salaries

• Manual worker wages

• Electricity tariffs

• Water tariffs

• Gas tariffs

• Unleaded fuel costs

• Diesel fuel costs

Human resources

• Number of university-level educational institutions

• Quality of leading university and research institutions

• Number of student graduates in 2006

• Percentage of the population with a university-level degree

• Adult literacy rate

• Tertiary education enrolment (percentage of adult population)

• Government-sponsored worker training programmes

Quality of life

• Best housing areas

• Average residential property purchase price

• Average residential rental costs

• Public healthcare facilities

• Private healthcare facilities

• Life expectancy

• Leading schools

• Leading international schools

• Incidents of crime per 1000 people

• Cultural heritage

• Environmental heritage


• Transport links (eg. strategic transport links, major transport hubs, number of airports, ports, rail terminals, major highways, airport passenger numbers, cargo tonnage)

• Mobile phone ownership (percentage of adult population)

• Mobile and fixed line subscriptions (per 1000 people)

• Internet connection speeds (maximum available bandwidth)

• Internet users (per 1000 people)

Business friendliness


• Basic level of corporate taxation

• Business-related taxes

• Property transaction tax

• Number of foreign companies in the country

• Number of jobs created by foreign investment in the past year

• Mandatory employer contributions (eg. welfare taxes, healthcare benefits)

• Days to start a business

• Market capitalisation of listed companies

FDI strategy and development

• Sectors targeted for inward investment

• Financial support available to investors

• Non-financial investment support available to investors

• Major infrastructure and urban planning projects

• Environmental strategies and grants




Cost effectiveness, Human resources, Quality of life, Infrastructure, Business friendliness, FDI strategy and development

African countries of the future